“The perp, a bleached-blonde badge bunny, couldn't have gone far. Maybe only a ten minute headstart. I know, because the odor of cordite still hung heavy in the room, like a wet bath towel draped across a by-the-hour hotel shower rod. She’d be easy to crack, too. A belt of cheap scotch and pack of Lucky Strikes and she’d sing like an American Idol contestant—loudly and horribly, followed by a gusher of crocodile tears.”
Does the paragraph above sound familiar? Have you ever written anything that sounded remotely close to it? If so, you may need to take your research efforts to the next level. I know, you’ve been writing about cops for years, thinking you know what makes them tick and why they do what they do. Sure, you and your characters each believe you have what it takes to bring life to the officers in your latest book. But do you really know what you’re writing? Have you talked to cops? Visited a police station? Ridden in a police car—in the front seat without handcuffs? Do you know how it feels to wrap your arms around someone in uniform? Does their badge poke into your flesh? Why do cops sometimes wince as if in pain when they slide in and out of their patrol cars? Is body armor made differently for female officers? Is it okay for a female officer to strip-search a male prisoner?
Lee Lofland is the author of the Writers Digest bestselling book Police Procedure and Investigation, a Macavity Award nominee for best non-fiction mystery. Lee, a former police detective and recipient of the esteemed Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Award for Valor, is a nationally acclaimed expert on police procedure and crime-scene investigation. As an expert, Lee has appeared on national television, BBC television, and on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and he has served as a consultant for numerous authors and for TV and film. Lee’s articles have appeared in newspapers, newsletters, blogs, and in magazines such as Writers Digest and The Writer. His blog, The Graveyard Shift, enjoys a following of thousands of readers from over 130 countries worldwide. Lee is the founder, producer, and host of the wildly popular Writers’ Police Academy, a unique hands-on training event designed for writers of all genres. Sessions include firearms training (rifle and pistol), emergency vehicle operations, homicide investigations, SWAT, firefighting and EMS, interview and interrogation, bioterrorism, bloodstain patterns, undercover ops, romance behind the badge, women in law enforcement, and many, many more.
Tread lightly...But know that while we are all working together here, the conversation can turn quickly to death, destruction and mayhem. And we are fine with that. We'll even abet you as you work to do the same, to become the best spinner of romantic mysteries and thrillers that you can be. So come on in, the water's warm...as blood.